India’s Ministry of Finance has imposed a 25% safeguard duty on imports of solar cells and modules from Malaysia and the People’s Republic of China to safeguard domestic manufacturers, starting from Jul 30.In keeping with the final recommendations proposed by the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR), the 25% duty will run for one year (from 30 July 2018 to 29 July 2019), then reduce to 20% for a six-month period (30 July 2019 to 29 January 2020), and to 15% for the final six-month period (30 January 2020 to 29 July 2020).And the Gazette of India notification said when imported during the relevant period all levels of the duty will be imposed “ad valorem minus anti-dumping duty payable, if any” .It also stated: "Nothing contained in this notification shall apply to imports of subject goods from countries notified as developing countries vide notification No. 19/2016-Customes (N.T.) dated 5th February, 2016, including solar cells and modules imported from Indonesia and Vietnam but except China PR, and Malaysia."
However, a number of Chinese PV manufacturers and other foreign suppliers have production operations in Indonesia and Vietnam, enabling them to supply solar products in India, without the import duty. So they can still set to benefit from India’s safeguard duties.
Given the slim margins for suppliers into the Indian market, so it can be predicted that the exclusion from the safeguard duties could be a major competitive advantage over the next two years of the duties being imposed.